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Network analysis and football team performance: a first application

Raffaele Trequattrini (Department of Economics and Law, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, Cassino, Italy)
Rosa Lombardi (Link Campus University, Rome, Italy)
Mirella Battista (Department of Economics and Law, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, Cassino, Italy)

Team Performance Management

ISSN: 1352-7592

Publication date: 9 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to illustrate how network analysis can be used to assess the group relationships within a professional football team, starting from the assumption that team results depend, at least in part, on the interaction between team members on the pitch. Elaborating an evaluation model of team relationships can help management in making conscious choices with regards to footballer assessment, selection and acquisition.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology is based on a qualitative/quantitative approach. Data have been acquired through direct observation. UCINET 6.4 software was used to elaborate the data.

Findings

An empirical observation was carried out according to the network analysis applicative process, through the analysis of a UEFA Champions League match. The objective was to illustrate the potential of network analysis to assess football team relationships and identify a system of quantitative key indicators, which can be used to elaborate a framework for evaluating the relationships in professional football teams.

Originality/value

This model means that it is possible to analyse elements such as the group members’ attitude towards cooperation, providing an evaluation tool for membership relationships that have not yet been expressed through quantitative indicators, as these indicators are relevant in the development of football game tactics.

Keywords

Citation

Trequattrini, R., Lombardi, R. and Battista, M. (2015), "Network analysis and football team performance: a first application", Team Performance Management, Vol. 21 No. 1/2, pp. 85-110. https://doi.org/10.1108/TPM-03-2014-0016

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited